The teenager joined Atlético Madrid for €126 million from Portuguese Champions Benfica and was quickly handed the number 7 shirt. João Félix however, has adapted quickly to life at Atlético; with a spectacular display against Juventus to round up pre-season.
The talented 19-year-old came through Benfica’s youth team last season and made an instant impact on first-team football. He can play as a striker, winger or behind the striker which brings his creativity and all-round attacking talent clear for all to see; as 20 goals in 42 games in all competitions contributed to Benfica’s league title triumph. Félix also contributed seven assists in the league highlighting his ability to create as well as finish off chances.
The youngest hat-trick goalscorer in the Europa League, his efforts also earned him the Portuguese League’s Best Young Player of the Year.
Atlético won the race for his signature to make him the fourth most expensive footballer in history, and the second-most-expensive teenager behind France’s Kylian Mbappe. Manager Diego Simeone recently praised Félix’s adaptability and willingness to learn, which combined with his talent, is a world-class prospect.
Félix has taken to the Atleti squad like a duck to water, with three goals and four assists in five pre-season games. He looks set to headline their season of rebuilding after the goal and assist against Juventus; with the likes of Alvaro Morata, Kieran Trippier and Marcos Llorente having signed permanent deals, as Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and captain Diego Godin all left the club.
Contributing to the cause
Tactically, João Félix fits right into Simeone’s system; with his adaptability allowing him to play several attacking roles across the frontline. In the league last season, he garnered 2.6 shots per game, creating 1.1 (12 big chances in total), with a ratio 0.3 crosses per game and 0.6 long balls(62% accuracy). He is set to contribute to their famous aerial prowess and wins two fouls per game; creating indirect free kick opportunities for Atlético.
Atlético are well-organized in their play and employ a structured approach to blocking the opponents and counter-attacking; their attackers contribute immensely to winning the ball and getting it in dangerous areas on the counter. João Félix is no slouch at winning the ball, tackling at a rate of 0.5 per game (71% success rate).
João Félix will be important to Atlético’s hopes this season. Judging by his pre-season form; he can improve a side which scored 55 goals at a rate of 4.2 shots on target each game. His trickery and dynamism will also contribute to improving 11.9 fouls suffered per game, providing set-piece chances.
The 2014 La Liga winners prepare to kick off their new season against Getafe next week with a new era on cue. Safe with the supreme teenage qualities of João Félix.